Bulldog Weekly Report (Sept. 3)

Bulldog Weekly Report


Bulldog Booster Club Athlete of the Week

Claire White, Volleyball

White collects another honor as she was named GPAC Player of the Week earlier on Tuesday. The Exeter, Neb., native totaled 60 kills over three matches at the Bellevue Labor Day Classic over the weekend. White has been a driving force behind the team’s 6-1 start to the season. She tops Concordia with 115 kills in 29 sets played.

 


News and Notes:

Pregame gathering for Bulldog football fans on Thursday: Concordia University will host a pregame gathering for Bulldog fans, alumni and friends in Liberty, Mo., prior to Concordia football’s season-opening game on Thursday at William Jewell College. The gathering will be held at Conrad’s Restaurant and Alehouse from 4-7 p.m. For more information, click HERE.

New video board to debut on Sept. 14: The installation of Daktronics LED 10’ 9” high by 19’ 2” wide video board was completed on Aug. 22. The new video board will be in operation for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 14 when Bulldog football hosts Hastings for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Click HERE for more details.

Golf season to tee off Thursday-Friday: Head coach Brett Muller begins his third season at the helm of Bulldog golf as the 2013-14 campaign gets underway this week. The Shawn Rodehorst-led Bulldog men will get the season started at the Siouxland Invite, a two-day event that tees off on Thursday. The women begin Friday at the Morningside Invite. Check out the Bulldog golf season preview HERE.

Fall sports season previews:

Concordia Sports Network: Live webcasts for most home varsity contests can be accessed by visiting http://www.cune.edu/csn at game time. Check team schedules/results pages for webcast dates. Scrimmages, exhibitions and junior varsity events are not broadcasted.

Volleyball

  • Bulldog volleyball fans could not have asked for a much better start to the 2013 season. Second-year head coach Scott Mattera’s work on the recruiting trails has led to a vastly improved squad. Concordia won two of three matches over the weekend at the Bellevue University Labor Day Classic and now sits at 6-1 overall. The Bulldogs began the season by winning all four matches at the Montreat College Volley in the Mountains on Aug. 23-24.
  • Saturday’s 25-19, 27-29, 25-15, 24-26, 15-9 victory over Ottawa University (Kan.) gave the Bulldogs their fourth win already this season over a team that won at least 20 matches last season. The Braves went 30-6 overall and undefeated in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play on the way to reaching the NAIA National Championships in 2012. Concordia has also defeated Montreat (24-14 in ’12), Mount Vernon Nazarene (24-15) and William Woods (21-19) as part of its fast start. The only loss came at the hands of College of the Ozarks, a team that received votes in the preseason national poll.
  • A big reason for Concordia’s early success has been the play of several key newcomers. First among them is sophomore outside hitter Claire White, a transfer from NCAA Division II Washburn University (Kan.) and native of Exeter, Neb. White has racked up 115 kills in 29 sets so far this season, giving her an average of 4.0 kills per game. That figure places her third among all GPAC players. Through seven matches, she has posted kill totals of 11, 13, 20, 11, 18, 21 and 21.
  • A pair of freshmen – Paige Getz of Paola, Kan., and Taylor Workman of Lincoln, Neb. – have played in all 29 sets. Getz ranks third on the team with 70 kills while Workman has contributed 48 kills and 22 total blocks.
  • Another freshman stepped up big over the weekend as rookie Alayna Kavanaugh, a high school teammate of Workman at Lincoln Christian, took over the setter role in Mattera’s 5-1 offensive system. Kavanaugh flourished with 103 assists in the two latest matches. That equated to 11.4 assists per game, a number that would place her in the top five nationally.
  • Not to be outdone, defensive specialist Carli Smith has played exceptionally coming off a second team all-conference campaign as a sophomore in 2012. The native of Temecula, Calif., has boosted her digs/game from 5.4 last season to a conference-leading 6.0 this season. She also has bumped her serve receive percentage from 93.0 to 95.8. Smith has combined with White on great early-season defensive effort.
  • In the middle, Concordia has gotten great play by junior Mariah Schamp of Arvada, Colo. She has often stifled opposing attacks at the net with her athleticism and timing. She tops the Bulldogs with 35 total blocks. She is tied for third in the conference with 1.2 blocks/set.
  • The five-straight wins to begin the season allowed the 2013 Bulldogs to become the first Concordia volleyball team since 2005 to open a campaign at 5-0. The 2005 squad, led by then head coach Rachel Miller, won its first 18 matches and ended up 24-11. The five-match winning streak this season topped the 2012 team’s season high win streak of three.
  • Concordia went up against the NAIA’s active wins leader in head coach Paul Swanson when the Bulldogs faced off with Mount Vernon Nazarene on Aug. 24. Swanson entered this season with 978 career victories. The Bulldogs fought back after falling behind 1-0 and 2-1 in the match.
  • The Bulldogs have another difficult week ahead with the conference and home opener on Wednesday against defending GPAC regular-season champion Hastings (7:30 p.m.) and then a pair of matches on Friday at the Hastings College Classic. The Broncos are 5-3 with two of their losses coming against teams ranked among the nation’s top 15. Last season Hastings defeated Concordia in both meetings, once in three sets and once in four.
  • Friday will bring a particularly difficult challenge as No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist awaits the Bulldogs in a 2 p.m. match. The two squads also met last season with the Bison winning in straight sets. Concordia will finish off the week with an 8 p.m. match versus Dakota State.

Football

  • The 2013 Concordia football season kicks off with a rare Thursday night start. The Bulldogs will take on NCAA Division II William Jewell College of the Great Lakes Valley Conference at 7 p.m. The game will be played at Greene Stadium in Liberty, Mo., situated about 18 miles to the northeast of Kansas City.
  • For a complete preview of the upcoming season, click HERE. Check out the 2013 Concordia football media guide HERE.
  • Concordia football has released a depth chart for Thursday’s game. Check it out HERE. Of the 11 starters on offense, four are seniors, three are juniors, two are sophomores and two are freshmen. The experienced defensive starting unit is made up of five seniors, four juniors and two sophomores. Sophomore kicker Adam Meirose replaces All-American Kenny Zoeller and senior Joe Marshall returns as the punter.
  • The Concordia football roster stands at 133 student-athletes. The roster contains players from 16 different states and two countries outside the United States – Belgium and Canada. Here’s a breakdown of where Bulldog football players hail from:
    • Nebraska – 63
    • Texas – 22
    • California – 14
    • Colorado – 7
    • Missouri – 5
    • Arizona – 4
    • Belgium – 3
    • Arkansas – 2
    • Canada – 2
    • Florida – 2
    • Nevada – 2
    • Illinois – 1
    • Iowa – 1
    • Kansas – 1
    • Minnesota – 2
    • Oklahoma – 1
    • South Carolina – 1
    • South Dakota – 1
  • Concordia quarterback Von Thomas feels more comfortable now in his second year as the starter and enters his second campaign working with offensive coordinator Curran White. There could be opportunities for big plays in the passing game against a William Jewell defense that allowed 34 passing touchdowns and 257.6 yards per game through the air in 2012. The Cardinal defense will also have to contend with Thomas’ ability as a runner. The junior signal caller from Miami, Fla., topped the Bulldogs with 460 yards and six touchdowns on the ground last season.
  • William Jewell, a former NAIA institution now in its second year of full active membership in NCAA Division II, struggled to a 1-7 record (2-9 overall) last season in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The Cardinals averaged 20.4 points per game while allowing 41.6 points defensively.
  • Behind a solid returning quarterback in Sean Shelton and fourth-year head coach Jerod Kruse, William Jewell should be improved in 2013. Shelton threw for 2,131 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. The Cardinals also bring in defensive coordinator Blake Williams, the son of longtime NFL assistant coach Gregg Williams. Blake served on the St. Louis Rams’ staff last season.
  • William Jewell’s leading returner rusher is 5-foot-11, 192-pound sophomore running back Thomas Cook, who ran for 572 yards and five touchdowns last year. The Cardinals’ top returning tackler is sophomore linebacker Jimmy DeStefano.
  • William Jewell will provide a live webcast of Thursday’s game HERE.

Women’s Soccer

  • First-year leader Greg Henson debuted as Concordia head women’s soccer coach on Aug. 28 as the Bulldogs used a balanced offensive attack to notch a 4-1 victory over Bethel College (Kan.) inside Bulldog Stadium. Concordia turned around two days later and went wire-to-wire with No. 19 Benedictine before falling, 2-0. Henson’s squad completed a stretch of three games in six days on Monday against Jamestown. The Bulldogs defeated the Jimmies, 3-2, to improve to 2-1.
  • Even in defeat, Henson’s side competed admirably against the nationally-ranked Ravens, who had shutout Doane 10-0 the previous week. It took Benedictine more than 66 minutes to finally find the back of the net in Friday’s affair. Henson came away pleased with the organization displayed by his back line. While the Ravens piled up 22 shots, a feisty Concordia squad frequently frustrated and disrupted the opposing attack.
  • Sophomore goalkeeper Elyse Muhle’s 10 saves versus Benedictine tied a career high. The native of Richland, Neb., also collected 10 saves last season against Benedictine when the game was played in Atchison, Kan. Muhle totaled 44 saves (.620 save percentage) in 10 games. She made nine starts. She has played every minute in goal so far this season.
  • Picking up where she left off last season, junior Rachel Mussell drilled her first goal of the season in the victory over Bethel. Her 31st-minute score broke a 1-1 tie. Last season Mussell finished second in the GPAC with 14 goals. She tallied at least one goal in 10 of the team’s 16 games in 2012. Her most notable effort came on Aug. 23 when she put up a hat trick versus NCAA Division II Nebraska-Kearney.
  • Mussell got plenty of help on the attack in the victory. She was joined in the goal-scoring column by juniors Ashlie Sklenicka and Meredith Hein and sophomore Jaimi Stelk. Each posted a goal apiece. Hein and Stelk both picked up their first career collegiate goals.
  • Three days later, sophomore Madison Hawkins also came through with her first career goal. Her score from just outside the right corner of the 18-yard box in the 78th minute proved to be the game winner in Monday’s win over Jamestown. With the goal, Hawkins became the sixth Bulldog to score a goal this season. Earlier in the game, junior Katrina Muther put Concordia ahead 1-0 with an eighth-minute goal – also the first of her career.
  • At No. 19, Benedictine is the only team ranked in the NAIA preseason top 25 poll that Concordia will see this season. Bellevue University, whom Concordia will host on Sept. 18, appeared under the “others receiving votes” portion of the preseason rankings.
  • Henson made a late addition to the 2013 slate last week by scheduling a contest with Grace University on Sept. 25. The match will be held at 4 p.m. in Omaha, Neb., at Creighton University’s Morrison Stadium.
  • The Bulldogs do not play again until Sept. 10 when they scrimmage Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The next official game will take place on Friday, Sept. 13 when Friends University (Kan.) visits Bulldog Stadium. It will be the first of four-straight home matches. Concordia will make itself cozy at home a lot this season as 11 of the 18 regular-season games will be contested in Seward.

Men’s Soccer

  • Jason Weides’ sixth season as head men’s soccer coach got underway on Aug. 30 with a stiff test against No. 17 Benedictine College (Kan.). The Ravens dictated play for much of the evening and wore down Concordia for a 4-1 victory inside Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs have been off since Friday and will look to pick up their first win of the campaign on Tuesday at AIB (Iowa).
  • Based on the NAIA preseason top 25 poll, Benedictine is the second-highest rated opponent that Concordia will face this season. Conference rival Hastings checked in at No. 13 in the poll. This Saturday’s opponent – Oklahoma City – was listed under “others receiving votes” in the preseason rankings.
  • A glance at this year’s roster reveals a side infused with more international talent than in previous years. Of the 32 players on the roster, eight hail from countries outside the U.S. Of those eight, four are new to the program in 2013. Freshman Carlos Acosta (Cali, Columbia), sophomore Sean Doran (Dublin, Ireland), junior Nathan Douglas (Winnipeg, Canda) and junior Rajan Kooner (Surrey, Canada) all started the team’s season-opening game.
  • Of Concordia’s 11 starters versus Benedictine, Douglas represented the only senior. Weides turned to four juniors, five sophomores and one freshman to make up the rest of the starting unit. Two of the juniors are transfers – Kooner and Donal Landrum – who joined Acosta, a freshman midfielder, as the three newcomers in the lineup. All three are expected to provide an immediate boost to a team more experienced than the lack of seniors on the roster would indicate.
  • The Concordia sophomore class brings plenty of experience to the table after being thrown into the fire as freshmen in 2012. Doran, Gideon Soenksen and Justin Lawrie each started all 19 games last season. The five sophomores who started against Benedictine combined for 80 games played and 61 starts a year ago.
  • Doran reasserted himself as a goal-scoring threat by tallying Concordia’s only goal versus Benedictine. The graphic design major, an intimidating 6-foot-6 center back, headed in a goal in the 39th minute. It was another set-piece goal for Doran on a play not unlike several from last season when he piled up five goals on the way to second team all-conference honors.
  • Tuesday’s opponent, AIB (Iowa), is a member of the Midwest Collegiate Conference. The Eagles went 9-11 last season and are off to a 2-1 start with wins over Baker (Kan.) and Waldorf (Iowa) and a loss to MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.). Through three games, AIB has scored five goals and allowed four. The Eagles have shutout their last two opponents. Tuesday’s game at AIB can be watched live on the web HERE.
  • Concordia will then hit the road and head to Siloam Springs, Ark., to play John Brown University (Friday – 4 p.m.) and Oklahoma City University (Saturday – 1:30 p.m.). John Brown is 2-1 with wins over GPAC squads Northwestern and Dordt. Oklahoma City is 1-1 with a win over Baker and a 1-0 loss to Benedictine. The Bulldogs will be back home on Friday, Sept. 13 to take on Friends University (Kan.).

3 September 2013

Mitch Reed